Elizabeth Street

On Learning to Make Mistakes

Creative InspirationLiz Tubman2 Comments

Mistakes are a part of life, especially when you're a maker.  As a natural perfectionist, I do not like making mistakes.  Sometimes I'd rather not do anything than do something and get it wrong.  However, knitting and sewing are teaching me to embrace my mistakes.  Creativity isn't about being right or wrong, it's about exploring and making and experimenting.  None of those things can happen when you're spending all your time trying to avoid mistakes.  I'm slowly, slowly unlearning some of my perfectionist tendencies when it comes to knitting and sewing.  Here's a few thoughts that have helped me learn to embrace my mistakes:

  • Many times there is no "right" way to do things.  In knitting, there are only a few hard and fast rules about how to do things.  Most of it is figuring out which technique works the best for you.  I feel like this is less true for sewing, but there is still lots of room for personalizing the way you do things. 
  • Mistakes don't have to be bad!  What turned out to not work so well for one project might be just the thing for another one.
  • Undoing and fixing mistakes will make you happier in the long run.  I inwardly groan a little whenever I have to pull out my seam ripper; but I never regret re-sewing that seam or fixing that stitch a couple rows down once I'm finished!  I'm that much prouder of the finished piece knowing that I used all my effort to make it the best that I could. 
  • In the end, making is about the process as much as enjoying the finished product!

How have you learned to embrace your mistakes?